This week I tweeted about book titles asking, ‘How much does a title draw you to a book?’ I didn’t get much response but that doesn’t surprise me, Twitter can be a lonely platform even if you have nearly 1000 followers. People are more likely to reply to ridiculous questions such as, ‘ Do you like cucumber or lemon with your gin and tonic?’ I prefer cucumber for what it’s worth. Anyway, back to book titles, or any titles come to that.
I am writing my Italian memoir and although it doesn’t need a title at this very moment, (it has an uninspiring working title, My Italian Memoir) I’m going to pitch it to an agent at the end of September at an event run by Byte the Book You can read about this event if you click on the link but I think it might be sold out now. I’m a member of Byte The Book and they do run some great events — I am famous for digressing so back to titles again — I think I need to have some sort of intriguing title to catch the agent’s attention so I’ve been wrestling with some ideas, which may or may not end up being used. Thinking up a title is also a great procrastinator and can lead you down all sorts of avenues when googling to see if it’s been used before or what connotations it might uncover.
Here are some bad titles I thought of:
My Time in Italy
Eight Years in Italy
Le Marche Life
I think all of these sound as though I was serving a prison sentence!
I considered — for a moment only — calling it The Italian Job as titles do not have any copyright but I imagined the stick I would get from family friends let alone the film fanatics so I binned that idea
It was easy to choose the title for my first memoir Dear Tosh , I called it that from the very beginning, it is a series of letters after all. I did try an exercise once when on a memoir writing course, I dug the page out just now, so that I could take a photograph and post it for you to see. There are some good titles here but I’m glad I stuck with Dear Tosh.
We did another exercise when we ‘transposed’ other well-known, book/film titles into ones that worked with our memoir. For example, Brideshead Revisited became Porto Revisited and The Pursuit of Happiness became The Pursuit of Painting Neither of which were very good. But a great exercise none the less.
In my opinion the cover image and design, are just as important as the title and the two things should complement each other. I need to get Will Hartley working on a photograph ASAP. It’s a good idea to have some kind of mock-up of the cover stuck up on your wall where you write, it can keep you motivated. When you look at it, the project becomes real and you have a goal.
I’ll leave you with this thought. . . Do you have a favourite book title and cover? I think I have several but I’ve just picked three from my bookshelf:
Of course my absolute favourite cover to date is this one!
Sorry. . . just had to put that on. Also a reminder that my first author talk is next Thursday 2nd September at St Anne’s Arts and Community Centre in BARNSTAPLE EX31 1SX. Hoping to see lots of you arrive around 18.30. It’s free and hopefully worth turning out for! BARNSTAPLE EVENT
10 thoughts on “Titles and Covers. . .”
Where abouts in the Marche did you live? Did you ever visit Recanati … Leopardi’s place of birth.
We were in a small town called Petritoli in the province of Fermo. Yes we did visit Recanati and several other towns. I Gubbio in Umbria and Cortona in Tuscany (we had friends living there). I miss the sun and the sea.
I love book titles that have a double meaning or intrigue, either obvious or something that makes you want to read the book to find out, even if the book isn’t always worth it. ‘The Constant Gardener’, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘Then she was Gone’. As for covers I go for a similar theme- pictures that maybe miss features of people or places or images that lead you through a landscape you can’t see the end of, round the corner of etc.
My mother-in-law, RIP, hailed from Monterubbiano ! How many summer holidays spent there when the children were growing up!
That is amazing! We have good friends living just outside Monterubbiano and I celebrated my 65th birthday in a restaurant there!
Thank you for that Elaine. I agree, it’s definitely important to create a bit of mystery or intrigue if you can. You want people to pick up the book up and look into it, flick through a few pages to try and discover more…then get then hook them in!
Then, cara Ninette, we shall have to have a nice meal together some time in the not too distant future – magari pure a Porto San Giorgio! Best of luck with your book! 🙂
We should definitely meet up for a nice meal!
Hi Ninette, I’d say the cover draws me in more than the title, the ideal being an irresistible combination of both – like a short story collection called Salt Slow by Julia Armfield (tried to post a pic of it here but it won’t let me!) I recently bought. I’d never heard of her but just had to buy it – totally repaid the outer attraction too, amazing stories!
I love the examples you’ve posted, most especially Dear Tosh. 😀
I know what you mean Pilipppa….covers are very important. I’ve looked up Salt Slow…I see what you mean, and interesting cover indeed! Why the jagged edges I wonder? We spent ages over Dear Tosh and I love it every time I look at it. We deliberately kept it clear of any sub titles or endorsements. Glad you like it and the other samples. 😊